Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic ban ‘a disgrace’ claims Indian Wells boss

Novak Djokovic is unlikely to be able to compete at Indian Wells for a second consecutive year, due to his vaccination status, and tournament boss Tommy Haas has branded it as ‘a disgrace’.

Djokovic is a five-time champion at Indian Wells, which is a joint record with Roger Federer, however he will be unable to add a sixth title to his resume this year.

There have been plans put in place to end the restrictions that prevent unvaccinated people to enter the US, on the 11th May, however those do not begin until after Indian Wells has finished.

It means that Djokovic will also have to miss the other half of the sunshine double in Miami, but will be able to return to the US Open.

Former No.2 Tommy Haas has been the tournament director of Indian Wells since 2016 and has offered his opinion on the situation, “It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those [restrictions] a little earlier and have him [Djokovic] come to play Indian Wells and Miami.”

Haas continued, “I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance. Hopefully we can have him there. I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”

The now tournament director knows what it’s like to play Djokovic at what many call ‘the fifth Grand Slam’, as the two battled it out in the third round of the 2009 Indian Wells tournament. The Serb got the better of Haas, as he did in six of their nine meetings, picking up a straight sets win.

Djokovic shared his hopes to return to the Californian desert during the recent Adelaide International, but admitted there was nothing he could do if the restrictions were still in place.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.